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Five from Finland

Finnish ICT going big in Japan

Japan is a land of great opportunity for these Finnish ICT companies.

Julia Bushueva

Time and space are famously at a premium in Japan. These Finnish companies are looking to tackle efficiency-related challenges in a variety of industries while building their presence in the country.

We asked the quintet to offer their thoughts on what makes the country such an appealing market and why they believe their solutions can claim a share of what can be a lucrative but also challenging and highly competitive environment.

This Tampere-based technology firm has developed an augmented reality-based remote collaboration solution to offer industries and professionals a quicker way to respond to technical troubleshooting requests related to a variety of mission-critical applications.

“Let’s say you have a vessel that loses steering in the middle of an ocean,” Boris Krassi, the CEO of Delta Cygni Labs, told us at Slush Tokyo. “It’s a life-and-death situation. You can’t always send a helicopter there, but with our solution you can connect to the vessel, see what’s happening and provide instructions.”

Called POINTR, the solution stands out from the competition for two reasons: security and reliability, according to Krassi.

“We have the best security solution,” he declared. “It used to be completely unthinkable to connect to a power plant through a remote video platform. But our solution has already been deployed at over 300 plants.”

Japan, he added, is an appealing market for the technology firm not only because of its size and powerful machine building industry, but because of its standing as a gateway to the rest of Asia, too.

Establishing a Japanese office together with a local partner is part of the internationalisation plans of Houston Inc., a Helsinki-based designer and provider of analytics-based digital services for industry heavyweights such as Konecranes and Rolls-Royce.

“The functioning of a dockside crane – how it lifts, lowers and moves containers – is pure mathematics,” explained Tomi Ruotimo, the CEO of Houston Inc. “You can use mathematical algorithms to make sure the crane doesn’t break down and bring the port’s operations to a standstill. That’s the kind of predictions we’re doing for, among others, Konecranes and the Port of Singapore.”

“I’m not aware of a single other software company in the world with the same kind of knowhow from these kinds of industries,” he added.

The Japanese automotive, consumer electronics and maritime industries are of particular interest for the service provider, even though it realises that the bureaucratic and hierarchical nature of the corporate culture can complicate the market entry.

“But the market is huge and the potential enormous,” acknowledged Ruotimo.

Japanese heavy industries have been pinpointed as a potential clientele also by Quuppa, a Finnish company providing positioning data by using a unique combination of angle-of-arrival signal processing and Bluetooth LE. The method is capable of achieving a positioning accuracy of 10 centimetres in real time, thus meeting the needs of applications ranging from military and security to production and logistics, and all the way to sports and entertainment.

“The Japanese found us three years ago,” told Sami Rauhala, the director of sales at Quuppa. “Roughly 20 companies are currently using our technology in their own products.”

Quuppa, he stated, is the first positioning solutions provider in the world to not only take advantage of the technology, but also to boast an ecosystem of more than 130 partners, including system integrators, solutions providers and tag manufacturers.

“One unique feature of our solution is that it neither disturbs, nor is disturbed by other wireless systems. This is important especially in environments like sports stadiums, exhibition halls and shopping centres with typically lots of wireless traffic,” said Rauhala.

This Vaasa-based company has developed technology that it believes has the potential to shake up the long-stagnant radiation detection and measurement domain. Its scalable platform technology is capable of detecting and measuring radioactive radiation, converting it to a digital format and analysing it for clients.

“We protect people from radioactive radiation,” summarised Jani Karlsson, the CEO of Sensinite.

“We’re offering a genuinely new innovation. Our sensor element is 80 per cent thinner and 75 per cent lighter than existing alternatives. It’s a miniaturised element that’s suitable for all radiation measurements.”

Based on decades of research and development work by Risto Orava, a professor of experimental high-energy physics at the University of Helsinki, the technology has applications in domains such as border security and both industrial and medical radiographic testing.

Karlsson believes Japan is an appropriate market for the product especially given the prevalence of drones, robots, wearables and other modern-day gadgets.

This Finnish IT service provider is eager to inject a touch of wit into buildings in Japan with Tieto Emphatic Building, an IoT platform that uses sensor data, system integration and data analytics to solve actual problems for both the managers and end-users of buildings.

“Japan is an interesting market. The number of buildings alone is so enormous,” said Ilona Savolainen, the official voice of Tieto Emphatic Building.

The platform effectively creates a digital twin of a building, she explained. The twin, then, enables employers to monitor how different areas of the workplace are used and how the usage affects air quality, congestions, noise levels and other factors related to employee wellbeing. Employees, meanwhile, are able to find the right colleague, collaborator and workspace for the task at hand, as well as to provide feedback and create service tickets.

“It helps in the modern work environment by making various different ways of working possible,” summarised Savolainen.

The application, she added, is dubbed as emphatic rather than smart specifically because of its human-centric design: “We want to serve the user inside the building,” she underscored.

By: Aleksi Teivainen